Chat Transcript: Will Merritt


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Will Merritt answered over 100 questions from Tiger fans on Wednesday.

CLEMSON -- Former Clemson offensive lineman Will Merritt was the chat guest in TigerActive Chat Wednesday afternoon. We appreciate Will's participation and wish him the best of luck in the future. Please join us on Thursday afternoon at 3 PM for a chat with sports talk host Mickey Plyler and also on Friday at 1PM for a chat with the State's Clemson beat writer Ken Tysiac.


CHAT TRANSCRIPT


Question: I've noticed the offensive staff catch a lot of grief for the play calling this year. I think some of it is a bit uncalled for because I've seen us have great play calls on many instances only to have them negated by just one or two missed assignments like missed blocks. Do you agree? Are those missed assignments a direct result of coaching?



Answer: Yes, missed assignments are killing us right now on the OL, the problem is that we have a ton of in-experince up there right now. coahces only do so much, then it is all up to the player!





Question: Who do you see as the next voice of the TIGERS.. when and if JP retires including yourself



Answer: I don't JP going anywhere right now, but I think Pete Yanity does a great job on the sidelines. I know he would do a good job!





Question: It seems like as a team we don't show as much enthusiasm and unity as many of our opponents. What should be done to improve this?



Answer: it all boils down to leadership on the team. also WINS. it is real easy to be excited when you are winning and things are going good





Question: How can our OL improve and is that our only reason for failure this year



Answer: OL will improve with time. there are guys out there who have never been in the fire b4. no, it is not the ONLY reason for a let- down this year! there are enough fingers to go around!





Question: Care to make any predictions on some surprises we could see on Saturday?



Answer: well it is Clemson/Carolina. look for both coaches to get the upper hand with trickery. What I know ,I really can't say other than both teams will be gunning for cheap scores





Question: Will, can a team be effective with an OL as thin in numbers as ours is?



Answer: NO, too many injuries occur at that position. you must be at least 2 deep at 3 positions, right now, we are not even 1 deep across the board with the breaks that CU has had- no pun intended





Question: Hi, Will. What is your favorite Clemson/Carolina memory?



Answer: woody to rod, A. Hunt kick- It was just one of those feelings I will never forget. it will also go down as one of the greatest finishes in school history, and it just cool to say that i had a part in it!





Question: Will, How many offensive linemen do you thnk Clemson should try to bring in this recruiting season?



Answer: 3 min. we have 5 in the wings now, but this is a good time to stock up!





Question: You look downright SLIM. Was it hard dropping the weight??



Answer: YES- I love food way too much. However, living in Colorado, my wife challenged me, and I went all out trying to lose!





Question: Will, what do you think of the trend of players talking on cell phones on the sidelines during games?



Answer: I have not noticed that, but I do not think there is any place for it! I think the players can take 4 hours out of their day for the game!!





Question: Will what do you see as the biggest area for improvement for the team?



Answer: I accidentally lost your other box- thank you for your kind comments, they are much appreciated. i also think the differences in O's is the loss of lineman such as Kyle Young and I think we miss woody. he was a big factor last year. whether you liked him or not- He made plays!





Question: What is the biggest deficiency we have going into the usc game?



Answer: we are not rushing the ball at all, this makes us not be able sustain drives and chew up clock!





Question: Will - do you follow recruiting closely? If so, how are the Tigers doing so far?



Answer: I must sya that I am not into it yet, However, I will know a lot more about it soon! I know this, we will be going after about 3 Dl- 2LB- 1or 2 CB's on defense. On O- we will be going after 2- Rb's (i think) a qb and O-linemen





Question: Score prediction for Saturday? What does CU and/or USC need to do in order to win the ballgame. What are your career aspirations? How many knots did Langston Moore put on your coconut last year? Just kidding.



Answer: 24-13 Tigers. that was a no- brainer-jk. If CU wins, they must strike big in a hurry, if SC wins, they must rush for over 300. simple as that I think- but what do I know, I am a has-been!





Question: Will, which of the 5 red-shirt OL will impact Clemosn immediatley next season?



Answer: Dustin Fry, and Nathan Bennett





Question: What do you see as the one most important key to a Clemson victory this Saturday?



Answer: Recievers making plays- special teams getting good FP. and if our DL can hold up to their massive OL.





Question: Do you claim Piedmont/Powdersville as your home or Easley.



Answer: ALL 3





Question: Will - do the players prefer all orange or purple unis?



Answer: I perfer all white or all orange- that is my fav. most of the guys however, love the purple





Question: What are some of the qualities about Clemson that recruits seem to like/enjoy?



Answer: tradition, coaches, excitement, fan support, opportunity to make it to the NFL, and the campus itself





Question: Do you think this offense would be improved if we went back to the fast paced offense of '99?



Answer: to a degree -YES





Question: Which of the young DL impressed you the most when your were a senior.?



Answer: trey tate, donnell washington, mo fountain





Question: What changes do you think there will be to the coaching staff after this year



Answer: i really have no idea- i think a few of them WILL have a chance to pursue other options though





Question: How many of our Redshirt OL can come in and play right away next year?



Answer: i say 3-4





Question: Have you seen any of the redshirt freshman practice. If so which ones do you think will make an impact next year?



Answer: it is hard to tell during this time of the year. it will be more obvious during bowl practice, that is like another spring ball for young pups





Question: What do you think we will do Sat to stop Langston Moore?



Answer: double, double, and then double team him





Question: Will, How is that hard hitting brother-in-law of yours, former tiger Matt Reeves....I remember him laying a block on a USC guy of a kickoff that echoed through the valley, I don't think either of them remember much after that....he still talk about it??? BTW, Your doing a great job on the show, Keep it up!!!



Answer: thank you very much- and no matt does not say much about that hit- might be b/c he can't remember it- he was a hard hitter though





Question: You think the Tigers will be in throwback unis or purple jerseys this weekend?



Answer: i would say all Orange- that is just a guess though- it will be up to the seniors





Question: Hey Will. We really appreciate your continued and staunch support of Clemson. Can you give us your perspective on our O-line and TB's philosophy of "taking what the D gives you?"



Answer: i think it is a good one. many teams started to scheme against our O pretty effectively, now TB trys to give the O a chance to countere anything they come out with. that is kind of generic, but what i a mean is that there are time where the fast pace O will get you beat instead of working for you!





Question: How difficult is Bowden's scheme for an incoming OL to learn?



Answer: very





Question: What was the biggest adjustment for you from HS to College



Answer: SPEED OF THE GAME, and the strength of your opponnents





Question: Will, do you see any changes to our coaching staff after this season? If so, any guesses as to who it might be?



Answer: ????





Question: Will how do you see the SC game going this weekend. We have struggled with the opposing teams running game.



Answer: judging on how well USC throws the bal, we might put all 11 in the box





Question: Will, any truth to the NCAA rumors coming out of Columbia? Did they offer you an Escalade?



Answer: don't know on the first ?, 2nd Q- No they offered me a 1976 schwinn bycicle-JK





Question: Is Preston Gibson your mentor?



Answer: yes- and proud of it. i just saw him 5 min b4 i started this chat!





Question: Will, spill your guts, are any coaches leaving after the season?



Answer: No, as far as I am concerened, they will be there for a long time- trust me when I say this- you DO NOT WANT A COACHING CHANGE- it hard extremely hard on the program and on the players





Question: Will, in your opinion, how many redshirt freshmen OL will be starting against UGA next year?



Answer: 3





Question: Are we only losing Allison to UTC this year or have you heard of any other changes? (not asking for specifics right now but just if we should expect more staff changes)



Answer: I really cannot say at this time, I know pretty much what you know. you must understand how much coaches love CU, they never really want to leave





Question: will, how in the world is sharpe going to block langston moore?



Answer: that is a great question! I would just tell him to stay low and pack a lunch!





Question: do you think this current offensive staff can get the job done of getting us better than 7-5 seasons and above 4-4/5-3 seasons in the ACC? Why?



Answer: Yes- they are a great group of guys, I tell you that from experience and from the fact that I have been around a lot of them. they all know how to win. experince up front will make all the difference in the world in the future





Question: Love the show! What is your next professional goal?



Answer: Thak you very much, I really appreciate it! Right now I am just doing what I fell like God wants me to do! I want to stay in broadcasting and I would love to work for the Clemson radio network on a more permanent basis one day, however, I have a lot to learn and a LONG, LONG way to go!





Question: Will, if you ere the OL coach, who would you start Saturday and where? I know your options are limited, but would you let Chester sit on the bench? What about Chip Myrick?



Answer: Chip is still a little green, and I think Ron West has seen something in Tommy Sharpe that he really likes- Toughness, and the ability to just falt get after people!





Question: Would it surprise you to see a different uniform combo than what we've seen so far this year?



Answer: YES





Question: do you see a change in coaching staff for next yr



Answer: not really, they may be opportunities for some of the guys, but 4 the most part, they love CU





Question: What are your feelings about the new rule on fans on the field after the game?



Answer: IT is the worst thing that college athletics could ever do- it cheats the players and the fans!





Question: Does Tom still drive an Orange pick-up?



Answer: My brother- No- I think you mean Yellow, but the answer is still No- he drives an SUV





Question: Will staff changes be necessary to move this team forward?



Answer: I say no, not at all





Question: Will, rank the areas where the Tigers need the most work and how they get it done



Answer: OL- this is b/c they are very young and in-experienced. outside of that, I feel as though the Tigers have guys in the right place for the future





Question: Can we expect to see much O-Line improvement next year or are we two years out



Answer: Yes- a lot





Question: Do we have to man up with our corners and stack 8 guys in the box in order to stop usc? It seems like we've had trouble against the run all year.



Answer: not a bad idea against this team- thay are very good on the OL and have good RB's. AND, with the way our DB's are playing- it just might be the answer





Question: So...what plays can we run with the OL like it is?



Answer: some mis- direction, counter options, draws, sweeps, really anything that allows you to just put a hat on a hat





Question: Is it realistic to expect a true freshman to provide quality play on the O-Line???



Answer: with these guys YES- and remember, they will not be TRUE freshmen next year, they will have a whole year under their belt





Question: Can you comment on the young guys we reshirted on the OL?



Answer: BIG, STRONG, good run blockers and love to play the game!





Question: Don't you think Jack King and Brad Scott look a little alike.



Answer: that is a good one, not an image that had crossed my mind though!





Question: How many biscuits will you inhale Friday? I think I can give you a run for your money! I've been training for this all my life!



Answer: bring it on- i can toe to toe until we hit double digits, then i am in trouble- by the way, we will be at the CHICK-FIL-A on Laurens Rd. if anybody wants to come- we will be there tommorrow and friday- i think i just mispelled some things





Question: Assuming you view a lot of practices, who are some guys being redshirted that have caught your eye?



Answer: kelvin grant, dustin fry, nathan bennett- i usually just watch the O





Question: How did you lose the weight?



Answer: i know this sounds corny, but while i was living in Colorado, I started running about 3 miles a day, and eating at SUBWAY every night- believe it or not





Question: Did Oobe pay you to wear their logo after the games? If not they should have. that was good pub.



Answer: As a matter of fact, that reminds me, I need to go collect from my bro!! - nah, it was just all i had in my closet- i really do love the stuff





Question: Who was more of an inspiration, Tripp or Pete Beasley?



Answer: Toss up, I would have to say that they effected me equally- both harmfully of course!





Question: Will the OL that are redshirting give us an improvement next year or will they need a year of experience to deliver?



Answer: yes- it will allow us to improve dramatically-





Question: Will Tommy get the job done at Clemson? If so, when?



Answer: Yes- If I knew the answer that 2nd Q, I would be a rich man and would live in Vegas-





Question: Is there any excuse for the special teams play this year? Is that a problem that should be addressed through a change in coaches?



Answer: No excuse- however, i think we should consider a full-time special teams coach like a lot of other schools have- the only prob with that, is you have to consolidate somewhere on the staff





Question: What is the one thing you miss most about Clemson Football?



Answer: My teammates. and the interaction with the fans. I am one of those guys who loved everything about Clemson and everything that it stands for





Question: How long should a coach get to turn a team around?



Answer: 5 years. that way you know he is playing with ALL of his guys and the kind of players he wants in HIS system





Question: There are many rumors circulating about asst. coaches getting other opportunies, for instance Allisons interest in UTC. Do you forsee staff changes in offseason?



Answer: Don't really know. I have heard the same rumores. I know that Coach Allison would be a great Head Coach though!





Question: Who are the three most promising players currently redshirting?



Answer: Offensively- Grant, Fry, coleman





Question: What was the biggest difference between Tommy West and Tommy Bowden?



Answer: too many to start- overall, different ideas on how to approach a game. different ideas on punishment of broken rules, and the list can go on. but i will say this, i fell very fortunate have played for both. i got the best of both





Question: Wiil, how important is getting the chance to red shirt to the average HS offensive lineman?



Answer: priceless- there are very few justin millers out there





Question: How long will it be before we see you beside Al Michael on MNF?



Answer: I would love to do it! I don't think I am ready for that step though





Question: How much did losing Rich Rodriguez hurt this offense? What did you think of him as a coach and as a person?



Answer: I am going to have to refuse to answer that, I am sorry





Question: do we have a 3 headed monster at offensive coor.



Answer: No- but this staff does allow for input and they take each other VERY serious





Question: Is that the assistant coaches will have a CHANCE or will be FORCED to pursue other options?



Answer: chance





Question: Will- how much could you bench press and squat at your peak?



Answer: bech max was around 350- squat was around 550- God did not bless me with great strength!!





Question: Tommy Sharpe has played well when he's been in there. However, he's facing a true nose tackle for the first time this week and a pretty damn good one at that. Is he going to be able to handle him?



Answer: I like Tommy against anybody B/C he plays hard and he has the heart the size of a mountain! However, Lngston WILL give us problems- He is a great player!





Question: Is Bowden still trying to learn how to run coach Rod's offense?



Answer: no- he started the Offense





Question: Do you still talk to coach Mac?



Answer: yes, about once a month or so





Question: Will - why do we react to the defense rather than forcing the defense to react to us?



Answer: great Q- I think the answer would be that so many teams put multiple formations on the field and if you are going to be stubburn, they will kill you- look at Joe -lee Dunn and Miss. St. this year- that is where hard-headedness will take you





Question: Hey Will. Glad to have you. Do you think certain staff changes must take place in order for our program to reach the next level?



Answer: thank you. No, we have a great staff- They have all won and have all learned how to be winners! they Will find a way to do it together at CU





Question: Is Bowden good at motivating the team in your opinion?



Answer: Yes0- In his own way. However, he does rely on players esp. seniors for a lot of the motivating duties





Question: will... who is the better OL coach? John Latina, Mac McWhorter, or Ron West?



Answer: now you know i can't answer that! somebody might tell on me!!! JK





Question: Is just a change in a few position coaches really all that major? I think most people are referring to the possibility of losing assistants. I can see where losing the head man would be a major shakeup but don't think that's what people are asking.



Answer: I think you have a bigger problem on your hands if you have assistants on your staff that other schools do not want!





Question: Will, you say we definitely don't need a coaching change because of the effect on the players. But, what if the program is showing no sign of progression?



Answer: then yes- a change must occur- i am just saying we are not at that stage right now





Question: How important will our offense be in stopping the running game of USC....if we keep them off the field then they cant run it



Answer: 100%- the best D is a great O- our O must score often and try to do it with some type of running game!





Question: Would Chester's size maybe help with Moore as opposed to Sharpe?



Answer: sure, but Coach west will play the guy who can get the job done more effectively. trust me, he wants to shut him down too





Question: We heard great reports about Myrick when he came in as a freshman- What is holding him back?



Answer: he needs to add some lbs. and some strength





Question: Will - why is that we only want to sign 4 OL when that is our glaring weakness?



Answer: because we have 5 waiting right now and if you sign a lot now, you will have the sam problem all over again in 4 years





Question: What are we morew successful at - Third and 2 or Third and 5 and WHY?



Answer: 3rd and 5- we can spread the field and go to our play makers!





Question: Why don't we see Elliot and McKelvey more, especially on 3rd down. They don't drop the ball!



Answer: good point- i really do not know. i like both of those guys a lot too!





Question: Will - follow up on the fans on the field question...If that's the case, why did 90% of the guys rush off the field after the game Saturday?



Answer: they were told to





Question: With our success rate in short yardage in a tight formation and 2 or 3 backs, why don't we spread the field in short yardage and give it a try?



Answer: we tried, we were stopped then too- it was missed assignments though





Question: Last year our DBs were the D weakness, this year it is the LBs. Does Hines' coaching ability have anything to do with this?



Answer: you have to make your own assessment of that- i am not at liberty to make a statement on that Q





Question: Will, what color are your glasses?:-)



Answer: orange baby





Question: Predictions for Saturday?



Answer: hey guys- just wanted to tell you thank you for all of the nice comments, sorry I was not able to go longer, however, I will return to do this again. My prediction for the game sat. is 24-13 Tigers! Of course my glasses are orange though! I also want to invite all of you to join in the Opening Drive Sports show that is on 104.9 from 6-8am WCCP. Also, you can listen on the web @ www.wccpfm.com and click on the LIVE banner. I appreciate all the fans of Clemson- you make it GREAT! God Bless you all and great rest of the week! thanks again and I will talk to you soon!





Question: Will, are you going to be the next Jim Phillips?



Answer: Can't answer that but I would sure love to give it a try- however, I have a whole lot to learn!





Question: Will, what about the 'splits ?' ? (it was a good one main. ;>)



Answer: splits? only split i know about comes in a banana form!jk





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